Plantain Little Spiders – Arañitas

10 Dec

This was supposed to be a recipe for Halloween… you know, the play on words – arañitas means “little spiders” in Spanish. Their name is mainly due to their scraggly shape, because they’re fully vegetarian and have nothing to do with the little arachnid creatures. But maybe they’re more appropriately called in English, Plantain Nests, making them a very nice option for Easter too.

This is yet another way Puerto Ricans love to eat green plantain. Variety is the spice of life and there are 1,001 ways we can cook a plantain. Tostones are most popular because they can be prepared in advance. Arañitas is something you need to grate, season and cook immediately. Not for the prep-ahead cook.

You can fry them in oil, just like you do with platanutres or chicharritas de pátano. But I have devised a way to enjoy the goodness of this Puerto Rican favorite without the need to get the deep fryer out. I am Latin, but I do not enjoy having to clean the splatter of a frying pan filled with oil.

Here is how I make arañitas…


1 green plantain, peeled
1 tbs canola oil
Garlic Salt


  1. After you peel the green plantain, grate it in as long strips as possible. I try to grate it on the long side to get longer strips of plantain.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the grated plantain, season with garlic salt and add the canola oil. Mix it all well to ensure the plantain is oiled and well-seasoned all over.

3.  In a non-stick skillet over low-medium heat, place little mounds of plantain. The low heat will allow the plantain mounds to cook on the inside. After a few minutes, you’ll see the outside plantain will start to stiffen and crisp up. Flip when you notice the center of the mound is turning yellow.

see why they could certainly be called nests????

4.  Keep the heat at medium-low. The arañitas will eventually crisp up on the outside and start turning golden brown.

5.  Take them out of the skillet and allow them to drain a bit on a paper towel. They may not drip any oil, but any excess oil is better left on a paper towel.

Serve alongside your favorite Puerto Rican dish – like macarrones with soy picadillo, arroz con gandules or as croutons for a delicious salad.


18 Responses to “Plantain Little Spiders – Arañitas”

  1. duodishes December 10, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    They look similar to these Indian appetizers made of onions. So good! Great side dish.

  2. Natalia December 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Qué delicia! Todo lo que tenga plátano me encanta!

  3. Cool Chill mom December 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Love plantains!
    Way cool dish
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ December 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Oh, I’m all over these! Never even occurred to me. Love.

    • KarmaFree Cooking December 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      imagine them with a little drizzle of Cuban mojo over them????? Mmmmmm!!!

  5. Lina María Mayorga December 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    That’s so cool
    Like a nice way to eat plantains

  6. Jocelyn Delk Adams December 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I am the biggest fan of plantains! Gosh I love them so. These little spiders look delightful!

  7. Alejandra Ramírez-LaBonte December 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Great! I just made that last week. Love it!

  8. Notas de Mamá (@NotasdeMama) December 11, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Qué rico y muy fácil de hacer. La tengo que probar. Gracias por la receta.

  9. Yadira Ambert (@ClubdeDiosas) December 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    No sabia que podia hacerlas de esta manera. Al horno deben saber buenas tambien.

    • KarmaFree Cooking December 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

      en el horno no salen bien… las traté y quedan muy grasosas.

  10. Melissa B. { hungryfoodlove } December 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I make this same recipe but with grated yuca/cassava soooo incredibly good. The perfect crunch for any meal.

  11. Naturalmente Mamá (@NaturalmentMama) December 12, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I love it!.. so much fun!.. I wonder if my son would like plantains this way..

    Thanks for the healthy and fun twist!

  12. Teresa Garza December 13, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    Me encanta la presentación… Una manera distinta de prepar este platillo… Lo intentaremos.

  13. Sadie December 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Question for you when/if you have time?
    I live in Michigan, USA, and we simply don’t get good ripe plantains very often, nor are the ones we do get very good overall, even from the Hispanic markets we have. Simply the shipping distance and weather here.
    Seeing recipes for green plantains recently, here and elsewhere, I wonder, are the green ones/under-ripe ones we can get here any good for these types of recipes, or are they still going to be flavorless and with an unpleasant texture because of being shipped so far and stored too cold?
    Maybe instead of trying in vain for ripe plantains, I should try some green ones?

    Like Papaya, which I have also never had “properly” (ripe and juicy and brightly colored) and wish I could, are these also to be out of my reach until I can visit warmer climes?

    I’d love to try these, like latkes and onion/veggie fritters I am sure they would be great, WITH the right plantain.

    • KarmaFree Cooking December 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Sure… any plantain if it’s still green/underripe you can use in tostones, plantain chips, mofongo, arañitas

      And where do you let them get ripe??? do not put them in the refrigerator. This stalls the ripening process. keep them in a warm place in your kitchen. They’re get yelllow and then start to get black spots. I like them when théy;re yellow with spots. Too black sometimes is too much.

      If you ever get to Chicago, try visiting the Latin/Puerto Rican neighborhood for good Hispanic produce. I used to visit to get some goodies I usually can’t get in the US.

      • Sadie December 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

        The only place I have ever had good plantains is in Chicago! (I am only a few hours away now and lived there years ago) which is why I know what I am missing here.

        I always let mine ripen on the counter where it is warm, and have even tried tricks like putting them in a bag with an apple, and near my usual bananas etc. They LOOK ripe after awhile, but the flavor is awful. I think being shipped cold messes with the texture and makes them taste pasty and chalky and not sweet.
        Figured I’d see if I could use some green and get something good out of them, since tasty ripe ones seem out of my reach.

        Thank you.


  1. Arañitas “little spiders” de Yuca « hungry food love - February 4, 2013

    […] very popular in Puerto Rico. My blogger friend Madelyn from Karma Free Cooking shares her take on Plantain Little Spiders. Check out her recipe and blog as the arañitas are made with almost no oil, something I should […]

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